Located on the outskirts of Taiki-cho, the 710 square foot Barn House sits just next door to the luminous “Meme” house, created by architect, and competition judge, Kengo Kuma. The Barn House is designed to accommodate two researchers and two horses (an emblematic animal in the area), and passively adapt to Hokkaido’s extremely cold climate. A living example that humans are part of the same nature that animals, the researchers will wake up to the sounds of the horses and share the same living space.
During the summer, the horses roam around the Memu Meadows area, and during the long winters they will shelter inside the house. The horses’ pee will be used for compost and will create enough energy to heat the interior spaces and nurture the plants.
Charcoal (which is made of sawdust, a byproduct of local wood-cutting) plays an important role in the house’s systems and food production cycles. The charcoal absorbs the ammonia from the horses’ urine, which gets enriched and becomes a potent plant fertilizer. Once the urine smell is fully absorbed, the charcoal will be exposed to the sun, ventilated and then it can be used for heating, paving and even melting the snow at Hokkaido’s cold winters.